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15 Feb, 2018 14:47

‘Industrial scale child molester’: Pedophile football coach guilty of abusing young players

‘Industrial scale child molester’: Pedophile football coach guilty of abusing young players

Football coach Barry Bennell, described as a “child molester on an industrial scale,” has been convicted of 50 counts of child sex abuse against 11 victims in a case involving allegations of abuse against dozens of children.

The final verdict of Bennell's latest case was delivered on Thursday, and related to crimes against youth players at Manchester City and Crewe Alexandra in North West England over a near 25-year period. 

An additional 86 complainants are understood to have come forward since November 2016, police revealed. He has previously received three jail terms for similar offences. 

The 64-year-old Bennell, who was described as having “almost an insatiable appetite” for young boys, will be sentenced on Monday at Liverpool Crown Court. It is expected he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The Guardian reported that Man City was warned by one of their own coaches in the late 1970s it was “general knowledge” Bennell was a risk to children.

Bennell was arrested during a football trip to Florida in 1994 and subsequently convicted of sexual abuse offenses in the US in 1994. He was also convicted in the UK in 1998 and 2015.

In a club statement issued Wednesday, Man City offered “heartfelt sympathy” to all those affected by the “unimaginably traumatic experiences” endured at the hands of Bennell.

“[T]he Club can confirm that to date, the Review Team has identified serious allegations of child sex abuse in respect of two identifiable individuals with potential historic connections to Manchester City. One of these individuals is Barry Bennell,” the statement read.

“The second identified individual – John Broome – is deceased and is not believed to be linked to Bennell. Investigations into Mr Broome and his alleged offences continue.

“In addition to these individuals, the team continues to exhaustively examine a number of reports of historic anomalous behaviours, no matter the level of gravity and strength of potential connection to Manchester City, over a period spanning more than 50 years.

“The Club is, at present, unable to name or give specific detail surrounding any such reports due to ongoing legal investigation but again, remains in regular dialogue with the FA Review Team and the Police.”

Gary Cliffe, a former youth player at Man City, said Bennell abused him “hundreds of times,” and took advantage of his status as a top football coach to molest and rape young players, even abusing Cliffe on the club’s Maine Road pitch.